We all enjoy success. We like to hear the stories about people who have gone from failure to success. Let me tell you about a man called Peter who, by the grace of God, went from failure to success. He fulfilled his calling and overcame his failure to become a man mightily used of God.
We don’t want to just look at Peter and say, “Well, that’s good, but that was him.” Let’s make the application to our own life. Here are seven observations about Peter:
1. Peter was called. But, aren’t we all? God has a special place of fulfillment for each one of us that was established before the foundation of the earth.
2. Peter was trained. Peter went through a three-year personal discipleship training experience with Jesus. He personally walked and talked with Jesus for three years! But with all his training, he still messed up. We must remember that as important as training is, it will never take the place of the grace of God.
3. Peter failed. He denied that he ever even knew Jesus. However, it didn’t take Peter long to repent.
4. Peter was converted. Because of Peter’s repentance, reconciliation, and receiving, he was there when Jesus breathed on the disciples, and he was converted.
5. Peter was enlightened. After he was converted, it became more than a passion to do the will of God. It was Spirit-to-spirit contact, and Jesus opened the disciples’ understanding that they might comprehend the scriptures. (Luke 24:45)
6. Peter was empowered. In Luke 24:49, Jesus told Peter to wait until he was empowered. Peter, out of obedience, was in that upper room to receive the empowerment of God’s Spirit in order to be what he was called to be. Next, we see the boldness of Peter in his preaching.
7. Peter was fulfilled. When Peter was doing the plan and purpose that God had for him, we see him reaching fulfillment and allowing the empowerment to bring about a demonstration of the Spirit and the power of the gospel.
HHow does this apply to us? It is going to take repentance (a change of mind), reconciliation (agreement to the gospel), and receiving all that God has by emptying us of “self.” Then we can be ready to be empowered by the Holy Spirit and fulfill the calling God has for us, and turn our failure into success.
A covenant is a solemn agreement that is binding on all parties, a formal and legally binding agreement or contract. In the Bible, it is the promises that were made between God and the Israelites, who agreed to worship no other gods. When Jesus came to Earth and was crucified and then resurrected, He did this for us. With Jesus, we are now under the New Testament Covenant. His blood was shed for us so that we don’t have to sacrifice animals and keep all those laws of the Old Testament Covenant. This is good news! As born-again Christians, we can have the promises of God. Of course, we must keep our side of the covenant, which is to believe. A connector is something that connects things. As covenant connectors, we are to connect to God and we are to help others connect to God. Here are seven thoughts about being a covenant connector:
Covenant with man has been established. (Acts 1:8) God established His covenant with man through Jesus. It is settled! What is settled? Any promise of God that we are needing at the moment. Every need was met through Jesus. He established a covenant whereby every need is met - hope, joy, health - every need. All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed to obtain our promise. We also need to connect others with this covenant.
God wants our honesty; quit playing games. (Matt. 6:21 & 33) We need to ask God to show out in our lives so that we can show others the life of God in us. Just be honest with God, He knows our weakness anyway. He wants to give us life and purpose. When we put our trust in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we get connected to God and our covenant.
Planted in a local church. (I Cor. 12:18; Ps. 92:13) There is a specific place where each of us is supposed to be. There is a family that loves you, and they need you. If you’ve ever had a crisis in your life, then you know how important it is to have your family and spiritual family to love and support you.
Nurtured, stirred up, and finding my place. (Jer. 29:11; Eph. 4:11) This happens when we are hooked into a local church. God has a plan and a place for each of us. We need to be hooked into a church family. We need each other. There is a place in the church for each one of us. We all are equally important to God. There are people that each of us can reach that no one else can. That’s why we all need to do our part in the body of Christ.
Grace abounds to overcome. (Phil. 4:13) What will change us? God wants us to trust Him, and He will give us grace to overcome any weaknesses we have. We need the Holy Spirit; He is our guide, our comforter, our everything. The more time we spend with the Holy Spirit, the more grace is released and revealed.
Participate in first fruits and tithe. (Ex. 13; Deut. 8:17,18; Mal. 3:8-12) The first week of the year is the first fruit. The first fruit redeems the rest of the year. Give the first week’s income of 2005 and see what God does with the other 51 weeks! God wants to establish His covenant with us so that every need is met. He doesn’t need our money, but that is how He can bless us - through our giving. God said to prove Him in this. Tithing is a covenant connector to God.
Give God a place to extend this covenant. We are connectors. God wants us to live life to the fullest. He wants us to speak hope into the lives of others.
What about you? Are you in covenant with God? Are you connecting others to the Kingdom of God? I want to encourage each of you to get into the Word and discover the promises that God has made for you. We can't benefit from a covenant if we don't know its terms. Have a blessed month, and be a covenant connector!
The most important thing for 2005 is to get a revelation that God wants you. He has pursued you all of these years, and He is still pursuing you. You are the apple of God’s eye. He loves you and cares about you. So, keep these seven things in mind:
1. God has a vision, but can you see? God wants you to see things like He sees them. Can you see yourself like God sees you? You are valuable to God. He paid an awesome price for you, and He wants you. He wants to reveal things to you. In Him, there is no failure. If Jesus is Lord of your life, you have a bright future.
2. God speaks, but can you hear? We are His sheep, and we are able to hear what He says. Listen to that small, still voice on the inside of you. Read the scriptures, pray, and then have some quiet time so that you can listen.
3. God leads, but will you follow? God wants to lead you in the paths of righteousness. The Bible doesn’t say He will drive you; it says He will lead you. As you see His vision, His plan for your life, you have a choice to make. You can either choose to follow Him, or choose to follow your flesh. When you rebel and do things the way you want to, you can hit a brick wall, and even then, God wants to lead you out to victory.
4. God cares, but will you allow Him? The primary way God can take care of you is through others. His system is seed - time - harvest. If you will work and give to others, then God will use others to give to you. Don’t get into pride, but receive your blessing and just say, “Thanks.” God wants to bless you. He won’t stop until your needs are met. He will provide, and He will direct your path. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
5. God protects, but will you dwell in His shelter? There is power in the grace of God. Stay in His domain; don’t get over into the devil’s domain. Sin will move you over into the jurisdiction of Satan. But, if you will repent and get back in fellowship with the Holy One, He can protect you. Psalm 91 says that, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” The devil came to steal, kill, and destroy you. God will protect you under His wings if you will dwell in His domain.
6.God corrects, but will you receive? God loves you so much that He wants to correct you. We all need correction. Whom the Lord loves, He corrects. He loves you so much that He won’t leave you the way you are. He is constantly bringing correction to your life. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” God corrects you because He wants the best for you, just as you do when you correct your children when they are doing wrong. He wants to correct you because He has a vision for you that no one else can fulfill.
7. God wants you, but will you give Him your all? God wants you 24/7, not just on Sundays. God’s way is the best way. When you know God, you will know peace, love, and joy. But, if there is no God, then you will have no peace, love, or joy. Several years ago I was lonely, desperate, hurting, and I cried out to God, “If you are real like my mom and my wife says, I need help.” He asked me, “Wade, when are you going to sell out to me?” I said two words that changed my life forever. I said, “Right now.” Those two words changed my life and destiny.
Will you sell out to God? Will you turn everything over to Him? He wants to change your life. He wants to give you peace and a plan and purpose for your life. You can’t come half-heartedly; you must give Him your whole heart. Then He can change you to be the person you really want to be. God wants you. He loves you. He cares about you. You are the apple of His eye. Won’t you please come to Him today?
Isaiah 60:1-2 says, “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.”
It’s time for us, as believers, to take our place. We are the ones that are to connect God to the world of darkness. To do this, we need His glory to be seen on us. How do we do this? How are we going to be the connection between the Father and the world?
First, we must have an understanding of what God’s glory is. In Exodus 33 and 34 Moses asks God to show him His glory. God then reveals to us in Exodus 34:6 just what this glory is. It is mercy, grace, longsuffering, goodness, and truth. So, that is what needs to be seen upon us. Are we merciful? Are we gracious? Are we longsuffering? Are we willing to put up with people? Do we show goodness and kindness? Are we an expression of truth? Do we have the integrity, stability, and accountability that the world is looking for? I believe we do, but it’s hidden at times. So, now is the time for us to arise.
Secondly, we need to realize that it is a done deal. In Isaiah 59:21 the Lord says, “As for Me, this is My covenant.” It’s a settled deal. It’s a covenant. God has given us His Spirit and His word, so it’s settled.
How do we make this a practical reality in everyday life? Well, we must have a hunger for it. We must have a hunger for the things of God. If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be filled. We must have a different frame of mind. We have to have a different mindset. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Then we need to be thankful in everything. When we are thankful in everything, when we have this type of attitude, then we will overcome murmuring and complaining. We need to be thankful for people. Let’s face it, there are certain people who rub us the wrong way. But, when we are thankful for them, then we overcome judging them and being critical of them.
So, come on now, let’s get real. Let’s get to that place of glory. Let’s arise and shine, for our light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon us. Let’s get in a rhythm. Let’s make it a lifestyle. Let’s live out who we are in Christ. Colossians 1:27 says, “It’s Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Let’s keep the melody of the heart, and let’s function as believers in spirit, soul, and body.
Be full of excitement. Have a mind set upon the things that God so desires. Let’s get ourselves disciplined and in shape. Let’s be disciplined whereby we truly can be the connection that God desires us to be and connect people to His family.
The first chapter of John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were created by the Word.”
Do you understand that words are connectors? We’re connected with God through the Word. We hear the good news of the gospel, which is the Word. We believe the gospel with our hearts, and we confess it with our mouths, and we are born again. Our spirits are made alive. It gives us the potential to perceive and to pursue purpose, which is to extend His kingdom.
When we are born again, His kingdom is placed within us. Romans 14:17 tells us, “The kingdom of God is peace and joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.” It’s from His Word. Jesus said, “I have spoken this that you might have peace. I have spoken this that you might have joy.” He said that the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel, so the kingdom of God is within us.
What are we doing with His Word? What happens when all the pressures of life come to you? What comes out of your mouth? Whatever is in you, is what comes out. Just like a gas tank. When it is filled to the top with gas, guess what? Gas will spill out. When you’re squeezed, does the kingdom of God come out? Or when you’re squeezed, do words of the world come out? It all depends upon what has been placed inside of you.
What hinders us? Our will. In John 5:30 Jesus says, “As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I did not come to do my will, but the will of the Father who sent me.” In other words, Jesus made right decisions because he was doing the will of his Father, not his own will.
The first thing we need to do in order to get our “tank” filled with the Word of God, so the Word will come out when the pressures of life hit us, is to yield our will. We must yield. We must submit. We must bind our will to the will of God. We must completely submit to the will of God, and make that all important choice to yield to the Holy Spirit. It is because of the Holy Spirit that the Word is made alive so that our tank can be full when we’re pressured. If we’re full of the Holy Spirit and the Word, then what comes out of us is peace, joy, love, and righteousness because then the kingdom of God is in us.
Secondly, as we yield to the Holy Spirit, and we choose to let Him take control, then we need to be very careful what we hear. Jesus said, “Take heed to what you hear.” Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” What are you hearing?
We need to take heed to what we see, what we read, what we imagine, and what we look at with our eyes. The gates to our heart and our spirit are our eyes and ears. But, our heart and mouth are connected because it’s not only words that connect us to God, but it’s words that connect us to each other. James 3:10 says, “Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. This should not be.”
Again, whatever is in us is what will come out. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Jesus says we will be held accountable for every idle word we speak. So, you see, God puts value upon words.
Let me conclude with this, “Lord, we need your mercy and forgiveness.” His mercy and forgiveness are gives us a clean slate to start over. Let’s face it, we’ve all said words we’ve regretted. We have all said words that have deceived our own heart. James says, “If you can’t bridle your own tongue, then you deceive your own heart because the tongue and the heart are connected.”
It is God’s desire that we get into a cycle. As we speak His word, we hear His word. As we read His word, then words come forth, and as we speak these forth, they are written on the tablets on our heart. Why? So we can fulfill our purpose of extending his kingdom and being a blessing to our community.
Do you want to be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing? This doesn’t just happen. There are some things we must do to arrive at this place. Unfortunately, these “things” are seldom easy.
As you know, in this world there are trials, tribulation, and stress. Satan is the god of this world, and will do everything he can to get us off track. He wants us to live defeated, unproductive lives. He is subtle. He isn’t dressed in red and carrying a pitchfork. He comes to us mainly with our thoughts. He wants to cause confusion so that we will make wrong decisions. Usually when we make wrong decisions, we will mull over them and get depressed. We worry, which causes stress, and this is exactly what the devil wants.
However, there is good news. Satan has already been defeated. He was defeated through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus brings peace, and through Him, we achieve the perfect, complete life we long for.
God builds character through pressure, not going around pressure. People watch how you respond to situations. So, when you develop your character, you are able to touch and minister to people. In order to overcome the stress and pressures of this world, we need to:
Remember, we all go through stressful situations. The key is to count it all joy when going through the tough times. The more pressure we face, the more patience we develop. The bigger the test, the bigger the testimony. Once we have our testimony, we will be able to minister God’s grace to people and put them in touch with the God of hope.
The Bible says, “We are more than conquerors.” But, is this a living reality? I believe that if we’ll get insight as to God’s original purpose for man, see how he is designed, see the environment God placed man in, then we will be able to live a conquering life.
God’s purpose for man, according to the Bible, was to conquer, replenish, and subdue the earth. God designed man - spirit, soul, and body - to function synergistically. His spirit was in direct communication with God. He worshipped God, he fellowshipped with God, and he received revelation from God. His soul was submitted to the will of God, and his body functioned perfectly to carry out this mission. Then God planted the Garden of Eden, the normal habitat for man to function in. The garden of eden was a garden of delight, a garden of thanksgiving, a garden of joy, a garden of melody of the heart.
As a result of sin, man lost his connection with God and could no longer worship, fellowship, and receive revelation from God. Now man’s soul was infiltrated with rebellion, and his body was subject to corruption. The tree of life was taken away, and man was driven out of the Garden of Eden to a habitat that was dysfunctional for God’s man.
The good news, however, is that God has a remedy for sin. God has a way of putting us back into the Kingdom of God. That remedy is Jesus. Jesus came to earth, born of a woman and under the law, to redeem us from the law of sin and death. Jesus became man so that He could identify with us. He paid the penalty for us, and He was raised from the dead so that we could be identified with Him if we so choose.
When we make the choice to make Jesus the Lord of our lives, then something dramatically happens to us. We become a new creature in Christ Jesus. Our spirit becomes alive unto God. Now we can worship and fellowship with God. Now we can receive revelation from God. Now, as we renew our minds to the word of God, we can submit to the will of God. We can get away from the mindsets, desires, and motives that are out of line with the will of God. Not only that, but we can receive healing for our bodies. Our bodies can be in perfect health so that we will be able to function synergistically in this world - spirit, soul, and body, and fulfill the mission that God has for us here on earth, which is to conquer, subdue, and replenish the earth.
The Kingdom of God is within us, so it is up to us to create the atmosphere where we can function. That is the purpose of the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, and temperance). Why? So that we can create an atmosphere where we can live an overcoming life. A life where our marriages can blossom and our relationships can blossom and we can fulfill the plan that God has for us.
Not only that, but God has endued us with power, which is the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, “When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you shall have power to be.” That is the key to living a conquering life, a fulfilled life. To fulfill the plan God has for our lives, you need to be born again. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless you be born again, you can’t see the Kingdom of God.”
Now, through the working of the Holy Spirit, we can have visions and dreams. And through Jesus baptizing us in the Holy Spirit, we can have the ability of God to carry out this dream. So, hey, let’s go for it. Let’s live a life that’s more than conquering.